A small crowd gathered Thursday outside the Los Angeles office of US Rep. Maxine Waters to counter an expected protest by a self-styled militia group. The far-right Oath Keepers group didn't show, but an incident occurred nonetheless: Would-be counter-protesters there to support Waters burned an American flag taken from the back of a pickup truck. The group was chanting "black power" and other slogans when the pickup approached. The vehicle, occupied by two men who appeared to be white, was stopped by the crowd. Some marchers opened the doors and one grabbed the flag flying on a pole in the bed of the truck, which sped off. The flag was stepped on and lit on fire as someone stoked the flames. A few people cheered and someone yelled, "This is not the American flag, this is their flag."
No one was injured or arrested. Police wouldn't immediately say whether they were investigating. The AP's attempts to reach a representative for Waters were unsuccessful. The congresswoman, an outspoken critic of President Trump, sparked anger among conservatives after she called on the public to "push back" on administration officials spotted in public. The Oath Keepers called Waters a "protest terrorist inciter" and had planned a gathering for the early afternoon. But police said authorities had been informed by the Oath Keepers that the demonstration was called off. Waters had urged counter-protesters to stay away in a statement issued Wednesday.
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